What was your best business decision?
Property. I got on the property ladder in 1973 or 1974 with a housing association, buying a two-bedroom flat with a garden in West Hampstead for £13,500. As a single self-employed actress, it was the only way I could buy. I then bought and sold a few times, moving to Camden, then West London, before moving down to Kent in 1989. I did well with every sale, even though I didn’t try to do properties up specifically to make money. The cottage I own now has quadrupled in value over the years.
And your worst financial decision?
Property again. In my late 40s, I bought a second property instead of paying off the mortgage on my first. At the time it seemed like a good idea, but it has meant I am still paying off my mortgage now. I also turned down a role in Hart to Hart, the hit US TV series, but I had just signed a contract with the Bristol Old Vic to work there. The door to Hollywood never opened again. I can’t complain, I’ve had a brilliant career.
Spender or a saver?
Spender. I like to spend on holidays, city breaks. When I am feeling flush, I will take taxis instead of public transport. I belong to a club in London so that is another little luxury. I also love buying presents for my family. I don’t have Isas or anything like that… If I do have excess funds, I will put them in Premium Bonds.
What’s been the most difficult money lesson?
Never ever do a business deal on a handshake. Always get it in writing and witnessed especially.
Do you prefer to pay by debit, credit or cash?
Credit. I have a Switch card and a MasterCard, and I tend to put all business purchases through by card. I pay my credit card off every month. I carry about £50 around with me.
Do you have a personal pension?
I have the tiniest pension in the world with Aviva. It was £24 a month but they have now decided to tax it so it is £17.50 a month. I started to draw my state pension when I was 62. I get around £200 a week, which is fantastic.
What are your financial priorities for the next five to 10 years?
My long-term financial strategy is to keep on working. Two years ago I switched to a capital repayment mortgage so I should be mortgage free in 2019, and then if I carry on earning as I am earning now, I would like to buy a tiny little property in the South of France.
Do you meet regularly with or use a financial adviser?
I will consult my brother Russell, who runs my father’s old business, David Jameson Ltd, if I need to discuss money. I have just switched accountants. The last couple I feel have ripped me off with large fees – I think they see a well-known actress with a bit of a name and they think they can double their fee as a result of that.
Are you a good tipper?
Yes, especially if the service has been fabulous. I normally add 10pc and then add it up to whatever makes a nice neat figure so it could be as much as 20pc. But if the service has been substandard I won’t tip at all.
Do you invest in stocks and shares?
I don’t at the moment. My brother did invest some money for me some years ago, which worked but I can’t remember the details. If I did have any money to invest in something, then I would invest in friends’ film or theatre projects.
If there was one thing you could change about the financial world what would that be?
I would get rid of the fine for submitting your tax return late. And I’d also change the way actors are taxed, from an annual basis to an average of income over three years. In this business, you can have a very high-earning year followed by very low-earning one. This would mean that paying tax when in a fallow period wasn’t a hardship.
Do you give regularly to charity?
Yes. I sponsor a child in Sudan and I give to Amnesty International regularly. I am a patron of a charity called DAVSS, Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Services, and I run events to raise money for them.
Is there anything you don’t like about handling money?
No. I love money actually. It is a means to an end.
Does money make you happy in your opinion?
Yes. Money makes me very happy and if you are miserable, it is much better to be miserable rich than miserable poor. Being able to treat yourself to a massage or a weekend break can help lift your mood.
•Louise Jameson stars in the 2016 UK tour of The Mousetrap. For full dates, go to mousetrapontour.com
Thanks to the UK Telegraph.